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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Crop Production Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315132

Research Project: Development of Sustainable Water Management Technologies for Humid Regions

Location: Crop Production Systems Research

Title: Radio/antenna mounting system for wireless networking under row-crop agriculture conditions

Author
item Fisher, Daniel - Ken

Submitted to: Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2015
Publication Date: 7/1/2015
Citation: Fisher, D.K. 2015. Radio/antenna mounting system for wireless networking under row-crop agriculture conditions. Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks. 4:154-159.

Interpretive Summary: Deployment of wireless monitoring systems is increasing in many diverse environments, including row-crop agricultural fields. To achieve acceptable wireless transmission capability, the radio/antenna must be positioned properly relative to the ground surface or crop canopy to minimize degradation of the radio signal. This requires the mounting of the radio/antenna above the canopy, resulting in potential obstacles to normal agricultural equipment and production operations and damage to the wireless monitoring system. A simple and rugged radio/antenna mounting system was developed by a scientist at the USDA ARS’s Crop Production Systems Research Unit at Stoneville, MS. The radio/antenna mount was designed to be subjected to encounters with agricultural equipment and pass under the equipment without suffering physical damage. The mounting system was deployed and tested, and operated successfully following repeated encounters with various agricultural machines and implements. The radio/antenna mount is simple and inexpensive to fabricate using locally available components. While designed to support radio equipment in a wireless network, it could also be used simply as a marker/flag to identify locations in an agricultural field which could be subjected to vehicular traffic or field operations. The radio/antenna mount could be deployed with a variety of radio equipment, enabling increased application of wireless networking technology under row-crop agriculture conditions.

Technical Abstract: Interest in and deployment of wireless monitoring systems is increasing in many diverse environments, including row-crop agricultural fields. While many studies have been undertaken to evaluate various aspects of wireless monitoring and networking, such as electronic hardware components, data-collection procedures, power management, and communication protocols, little information related to physical deployment issues has been reported. To achieve acceptable wireless transmission capability, the radio/antenna must be positioned properly relative to the ground surface or crop canopy to minimize degradation of the radio signal, usually requiring the mounting of the radio/antenna above the canopy. This results in the presence of obstacles to normal agricultural equipment traffic and production operations and potential damage to the wireless monitoring system. A simple and rugged radio/antenna mounting system was designed which could be subjected to encounters with agricultural equipment without suffering physical damage. The mounting system was deployed and tested, and operated successfully following repeated encounters with various agricultural machines and implements. The radio/antenna mount is simple and inexpensive to fabricate using locally available components.